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Page 20 - The Meteorite that Shaped Cape Breton

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/6/1 (431 reads)

should see what is called the Coriolus ef? fect. The Coriolus effect is seen in winds and ocean currents which are curved be? cause of the Earth's rotation. Mathematic? ally, it is the vector sum of the relative motions. More simply, something from outer space travelling from due south towards north and striking the earth will appear to turn towards the west if its speed and the speed of the earth's rotation are sim? ilar. The faster the speed of approach, the less turning will be observed, and vice versa. From the sand box experiments, we know that the heaviest pieces plow in deeply, slow more quickly and don't travel as far as the lighter bits which skitter across the surface. So if it was a meteor strike, we should seek evidence for the Coriolus effect in the deepest channel, which would be made by the biggest piece slowing down first. You will need hydrographic charts with depth soundings to investigate this prop? erly. Chart 4833 shows St. Andrews Channel to be the deepest, almost 1000 feet at its northern end. This huge gash is arrow- straight for nearly 20 miles until it reaches its deepest point • 981 feet be? tween Ironville and Long Island. Then • surprise, surprise, it turns northwards and westwards, a perfect Coriolus turn! Another point scored for the meteor. If you can get hold of a geo-magnetic sur? vey of Cape Breton, you will see that the "signature" of the older rocks to the north and south of the lakes is similar and quite pronounced, but in the lakes re? gion it is weak and indefinite as if it had been disturbed. There is no sign of a big signature indicating the presence of the huge chunk of meteorite. I believe that this chunk is so deep it cannot give sizeable readings and the weak grouping on the geo-magnetic map at the head of the Coriolus turn is all we can detect of the huge mass. However, the grouping is there in the right place, and maybe someone will drill a deep hole one day and find the mass of iron or nickel or whatever remains. It is probably too deep to be recovered economically anyway. Suppose the meteor theory is correct. Try to imagine what must have happened on that fateful day. Some time within the period that man has been on Earth, and probably 10 to 20,000 years ago, someone on the Pa? cific coast would have seen a bright star appear in the west. Moving at an incredi? ble speed, it would have expanded in size and to unbearable brightness as It flashed overhead, its passage marked by peal after peal of thunder followed by hurricane- force winds. The watcher may have turned and watched terrified as the huge ball of rock, preceded by a mantle of incandescent air and trailing a tail of plasma and va? porized rock hundreds of miles long, streaked eastwards. If he were not blinded by the light or incinerated by the heat or crushed by the explosion of the super? heated air, he might have seen the broad swathe of forest under the meteor track burst into flame. Certainly by the time the meteor was over the eastern United States it would have caused widespread devastation due to the immense heat gener? ated by its friction with the air. The worst was yet to come and a deadly race had developed. The meteor was speed? ing across the surface of North America at probably thousands of miles per hour. Un? derneath, travelling a similar direction at a modest 500 m.p.h., the Earth was turning, carrying with it Cape Breton, at CampGill Lighthouse Cape Breton Shopping Plaza Sydney River, Nova Scotia The Shop with the Answer to all Your Lighting Needs Genuine Down East Hospitality Keddy' Motor Irm 600 King's Road, Sydney, N.S. Phone 539-1140 • Telex 019-351? Town and Country RBSTAURANT Red ond White POW STORBS Baddeck Port Hawkesbury Sydney River & Glace Bay 0. GOLDMAN & SONS LTO. "THt HOMKOK UNK .SKAFOOD*' Fort Hawkesbury
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